Portsmouth 3 - 1 Wolves01 May 2010
Fond farewell for Fratton fans
Dindane, Utaka and Brown score in Pompey's final home game of season
Fratton Park bid farewell to Premier League football for at least another season as relegated Portsmouth claimed a 3-1 triumph over already-safe Wolverhampton Wanderers on the penultimate weekend of the campaign.
In an open and entertaining game on the South Coast, Avram Grant's men rewarded the home faithful with just their seventh league win of the term to boost them ahead of this month's FA Cup final with Chelsea.
The home side broke the deadlock on 21 minutes when Wolves' defence went to sleep on a Michael Brown free-kick to allow a completely unmarked Aruna Dindane to head in from close range.
But the visitors, so dangerous from David Jones' delivery in the first half, levelled when Kevin Doyle put past David James at the second bite of the cherry.
However, Portsmouth restored their advantage just four minutes later when John Utaka's low shot from outside of the area caught out goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann at his near post.
And Pompey wrapped up their victory in the second period when Brown, who only recently scored his first goal for Portsmouth, slid a shot under Hahnemann, who should really have done better with the effort.
It was a bright start by the home side as Utaka's near-post header was blocked.
Portsmouth, perhaps now playing with more freedom, continued to press.
There was, though, danger on 15 minutes when James had to turn a fine 25-yard strike away from Wolves midfielder Jones, after the ball had been tapped on from a free-kick.
Wolves went close again when, after a fumble by the England keeper had given away a corner, Doyle flicked the ball towards the far post, where Jody Craddock was only inches away from connecting.
Portsmouth went up the other end and took the lead on 21 minutes. Brown floated over a deep free-kick, and Dindane was left unmarked to plant a header past Hahnemann.
Kevin-Prince Boateng forced a good stop from the American with a fierce drive from just outside the box.
The Wolves defence backed off Frederic Piquionne, and again Hahnemann was tested as he dived to palm away the striker's low, 20-yard effort.
Jones whipped a dangerous ball right across the Pompey six-yard box from a right-wing free-kick, but Ronald Zubar just could not get a touch.
Wolves were enjoying a good spell, with James alert to block a snap-shot from Geoffrey Mujangi Bia, making his first start on loan from RSC Charleroi.
The England keeper, however, was then left exposed and even two great reaction saves could not prevent an equaliser on 35 minutes.
Again Jones' dead-ball delivery caused the problem, as Zubar headed goalwards from point-blank range, which James kept out before then also denying Doyle's follow-up.
However, with the Pompey defenders slow to react, Doyle was able to bundle the ball past James for his eighth goal of the season.
Pompey, though, were back in front within five minutes as Utaka spun in from the right to fire past Hahnemann from 20 yards.
James saved well from Doyle after coming out to close down the angle after Bia had put a clever angled ball into the left side of the penalty area.
Both sides made changes for the start of the second half. Bia was given a deserved rest, replaced by Chris Iwelumo while Pompey brought on Joel Ward for Aaron Mokoena and Tommy Smith for Dindane.
On 54 minutes, James touched Doyle's scissor-kick over the bar before Wolves substitute Sylvan Ebanks-Blake somehow rolled the ball wide from 12 yards after Doyle's shot had come back off the post.
Portsmouth were forced into another change when Richard Hughes limped off down the tunnel and had to be replaced by Papa Bouba Diop.
On 67 minutes, Portsmouth wrapped things up with a well-crafted third goal.
Piquionne broke down the right, and his cross was nodded down to Brown by Smith, and the midfielder sent a low strike into the far corner.
Pompey broke quickly again through Boateng, who played in Smith, but Hahnemann made a decent save with his legs.
James, though, still had to be alert when the ball dropped to Foley in the six-yard box, blocking the close-range shot with his chest before also denying Doyle.
|Portsmouth||Team Statistics||Wolverhampton Wanderers|
|2||1st Half Goals||1|
|6||Shots on Target||9|
|4||Shots off Target||8|